Finns Party Youth group promises better judgment after ‘racist’ tweet

There's no apology, but the political group are trying to diffuse a public outcry and official investigation into their funding.

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Composite image showing Toni Jalonen (L), Finns Party Youth logo (C), and Asseri Kinnunen (R) / Credit: News Now Finland

The Vice President of the Finns Party Youth has called one of the tweets he sent from the organisation’s official account “thoughtless”, in an apparent attempt to diffuse a Ministry of Education investigation into official funding for the group.

In recent weeks the Finns Party Youth and its members have posted a number of social media messages which have been branded ‘racist’ by politicians and members of civic society.

Screenshot of Finns Party Youth messaging on social media / Credit: Twitter

One such post showed a European Parliament election campaign advert with two black parents holding their child. An official Finns Party Youth social media account had shared the advert, and added the comment “vote for the Finns Party if you don’t want Europe to look like this”, written in Finnish.

Now, the Finns Party Youth board concedes the message was “imprudent and contrary to good practice” in a statement on Thursday.

The man who wrote the message Toni Jalonen says his tweet was “thoughtless” and admits he “acted impulsively” by posting it. The tweet has now been deleted.

The main Finns Party chairman Jussi Halla-aho has said that someone’s ‘Finnishness’ should not be judged on the colour of their skin.

Halla-aho was convicted by the Finnish Supreme Court in 2009 of disturbing religious worship, and of ethnic agitation for things he wrote about the religion of Islam, and Somalis in Finland.

Election success for Finns Party Youth 

Writing in a statement, Finns Party Youth Secretary General Asseri Kinnunen says that 21 candidates in April’s election were members of his group, with five of them getting into parliament.

“Our candidates received 64,049 votes throughout Finland. Our [social media strategies] can therefore be considered to be largely successful, in large part due to the communications officer Toni Jalonen” Kinnunen says.

Ministry could cut funding over the posts 

The admission of “imprudence” – but no apology – comes after the Ministry of Education and Culture said it is looking at funding for the group.

Finns Party Youth was granted €115,000 this year, but one of the conditions of the Youth Act under which the cash was given, is that recipients must promote equality and non-discrimination.

If a Ministry investigation finds that Finns Party Youth have breached the conditions of the grand money, they might have to give back some money they’ve already received, and future funding could also be in jeopardy.

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